The federal government provides clear guidelines for colleges and universities to follow when responding to reports of sexual and gender-based misconduct. These guidelines come from Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX). Sexual and gender-based misconduct is prohibited under Title IX as it is a form of discrimination on the basis of sex.
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 states:
No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.
The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) is the federal agency that oversees and enforces Title IX compliance. OCR requires colleges and universities to carry out the following responsibilities:
- A school has the responsibility to respond promptly and effectively to charges of sexual and gender-based misconduct. If a school knows or reasonably should know about sexual and gender-based misconduct that creates a hostile environment, the school must take immediate action to address the misconduct, prevent its reoccurrence, and remedy its effects.
- Even if a reporting party does not want to file a complaint or does not request that the school take action on the reporting party’s behalf, the school must make an effort to investigate the charge to determine what has occurred and then take appropriate steps to ensure the safety of the reporting party and the campus community.
- A school must take action to prevent and remediate retaliation against a reporting party of third party for their involvement in any process under Title IX.
- Every school must have and distribute a policy against sex discrimination (including sexual and gender-based misconduct). Title IX requires that the policy include the following:
- Every party has the right to present their case. This includes the right to thorough, reliable and impartial investigation of complaints, the right to have an equal opportunity to present witnesses and other evidence, and the right to the same appeal processes.
- Every party has the right to be notified of the time frame within which a) the school will conduct a full investigation of the complaint; b) the parties will be notified of the outcome of the complaint; and c) the parties may file an appeal.
- Every party has the right to have the complaint decided using a “preponderance of evidence” standard. This means that it must be “more likely than not” that the misconduct occurred.
- Every party has the right to be notified, in writing, of the outcome of the complaint.
• The school must follow its policy.
Wheaton’s Sexual and Gender-based Misconduct Policy is consistent with these guidelines.
None of these guidelines preclude or affect a complainant’s right to pursue criminal charges against another individual.
Caraline Somerville, Title IX Coordinator, is responsible for ensuring that Wheaton’s policies and practices comply with Title IX.
Caraline can be reached at email@example.com, titleIX@ibacck.com, or 508-286-3261, or at her office in the garden level of the Doll’s House. In addition, you can meet with Caraline to request supportive measures which may include but are not limited to counseling, extensions of deadlines or other course-related adjustments, modifications of work or class schedules, campus escort services, mutual restrictions on contact between the parties, changes in work or housing locations, leaves of absence, increased security and monitoring of certain areas of the campus, and other similar measures.
We also have “deputy directors” who work with particular populations. If you have a concern or complaint, you should direct it to the Caraline, or to the following offices/individuals, depending on the situation:
Complaints against Wheaton students may be referred to:
- Associate Vice President of Student Affairs, Deputy Title IX Coordinator for Students 508-286-8218
- Campus Safety 508-286-8213
Complaints against Wheaton staff members should be referred to:
Omaira Roy, Assistant Vice President for Human Resources, Deputy Title IX Director for Staff 508-286-8206
Complaints against faculty members should be referred to:
Alison Ricco, Executive Assistant to the Provost, Office of the Provost 508-286-8212
Complaints regarding athletics should be referred to:
Lisa Yenush ’90, Associate Director of Athletics/SWA 508-286-3982, Deputy Title IX Director for Athletics
If you believe that Wheaton College has not followed its policy and processes as described in the Sexual and Gender-based Misconduct Policy, or if you believe that the policy itself is discriminatory, you can file a grievance with the Office of Civil Rights. The person who can help you do this is Wheaton’s Title IX Coordinator, Caraline Somerville or you can choose to contact the Office of Civil Rights directly at 800-421-3481 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
If you wish to fill out a complaint form online, you may do so at: OCR Complaint Forms – Electronic and PDF Versions
Doll’s House, Office G-6